01 Sep Seoul Reaches Out to Chinese Corporate and Incentive Travel Markets
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his month, Seoul is making major inroads into China in response to rising interest from the region in the Korean capital as a business events and incentive travel destination. From September 17-19, Seoul will attend the China Incentive, Business Travel, Meetings and Events (CIBTM) 2014 expo, to be held at Beijing’s China National Convention Center (CNCC), with the aim of promoting its broad convention profile to Chinese buyers and other international visitors attending the event.
CIBTM is China’s leading MICE expo and a major opportunity for Seoul to engage the country’s meetings market. It drew 484 exhibitors and 374 buyers last year. This year, CIBTM attendees will be able to meet with Seoul Tourism Organization staff during the three-day expo at booth F240, where the Korea Tourism Organization booth will be located. Also present at the booth will be officials of Korea’s other regional MICE and tourism organizations, including the Busan Tourism Organization, Gyeonggi Tourism Organization, and Gyeongju Convention Bureau. Seoul Tourism Organization, enjoying a great working relationship with the Korea Tourism Organization, frequently works with the national tourism entity for promoting tourism overseas.
On the day before CIBTM, the Seoul Tourism Organization will also attend the 2014 Beijing Incentives Roadshow, sponsored by the Korea Tourism Organization. At the event’s Incentive Mart, Seoul will join several other Korean destination management companies to meet with around 100 buyers and media professionals.
According to CIBTM, in 2013 27.8% of hosted buyers were from corporations, while 16.3% were from incentive houses or agencies – which were the two highest categories of hosted buyers at CIBTM after general travel agencies at 28.9%. [source: cibtm.org]
Seoul has increasingly been seen as an attractive destination for corporate and incentive travel by China in recent years, in part due to its role as a gateway to, and main producer of hallyu, or the ‘Korean Wave’. Hallyu literally means “flow of Korea”, and it is a neologism referring to the growing Chinese interest in Korean cultural exports. The term was originally used by Beijing journalists in 1999, and now is used to describe a wide range of areas such as Korean fashion, cosmetics, pop music, and television. A notable example of the latter is the SBS television drama My Love From The Star, which has become a cultural phenomenon in China, propelling Korean actors Kim Soo-hyun and Jeon Ji-yeon into superstardom in China.
Hallyu themed travel to Seoul has become a whole new branch of tourism in the city, which corporate event planners across Asia have been including in their incentive trips. For these and other business events, STO offers a wide range of support, including financial assistance, site inspections, venue recommendations, and group incentive trip planning.
Hanoi Seoul MICE Roadshow
Following CIBTM, Seoul will be heading to Vietnam to host a joint leisure and business events dinner event, organized by the Seoul Convention Bureau and Tourism Marketing Team of the Seoul Tourism Organization. Set to take place at the new Lotte Hotel Hanoi on September 30th, the evening will be attended by 200 delegates, including 150 buyers, and will offer a full program of information, networking, and entertainment. Back in June, Seoul hosted a similar event in Singapore entitled “Starry, Starry Seoul,” in Singapore on the 24th, welcoming 160 attendees that included 130 Singaporean buyers.
Later in October, Seoul plans to make its third appearance at IMEX America from October 14-16, before returning to Singapore for this year’s ITB Asia travel market and expo, taking place on October 29-31. Last but not least will be a return to EIBTM from November 18-20 in Barcelona, Spain, where Seoul’s annual attendance is continuing to boost interest from the European market.